Broadband in WNC Economic Development Education Entrepreneurship Telehealth

Transform To Our New Digital Economy

Awaken to the New

Awaken Western North Carolina. You will transform into new digital rural economies.

Learn Elements

What will the new digital economy include for rural WNC?

  • Innovation Networks
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Workforce Development
    • Public Education Challenges
      • Student Learning
      • Instructional Approaches
      • Professional Learning & Support
    • New Online Learning
    • Micro-Credentials
  • Learner Variability – Model – Identify – Strategize
  • Research – Discovery – Data Visualization
  • Telehealth

Evolve with Resources

Marc Czarnecki – A WNC Digital Navigator

Transformation Will Happen

The world has made major digital revolutions already. WNC will transform and catch-up to those that have been digitally-privileged and have had special rights and advantages with quality broadband.

Become a Digital Navigator

The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki, alias Web Tech Czar; is a member of the WNC Broadband Project Leadership team with a role of a Digital Navigator instructor for the Digital Literacy Network and facilitates computer-tech education at NCWorks Career Center of Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Meet-the-GeeksAsheville SCORE, and the Experienced Workforce Initiative of WNC.

Help WNC become digital navigators for those that can’t.

Contact Marc

Broadband in WNC Free WiFi WiFi

What are the Public Wi-Fi Tips?

Coffee is great, but is the open and free public Wi-Fi trusted? This morning I visited a local coffee shop and enjoyed a cup of java with a fresh blueberry scone. While at this coffee shop, like others; I connected my devices to the local Wi-Fi access point when I found faster internet service than my service providers.

Public Wi-Fi Dangers – Kaspersky Lab

Public Wi-Fi Best Practices

What are the suggested best practices for using public Wi-Fi?

Coffee Shop Public Wi-Fi Access Points
  • Connect to the right access point name by asking ‘what is the proper network name’ if it is not posted.
  • Locked Wi-Fi networks require a password. Use of access points with passwords is yet another check that you are connecting to the right network.
  • In the device settings, set your phone, tablet, or laptop to ‘Ask to Join Networks’
  • Your smartphone hotspot can tether to a laptop, is enabled. Do use a password to make the handshake between the devices.
  • Carry a mobile hotspot with you. Provided there is a cellular tower in the area that supports your mobile hotspot, you may even have faster speeds with your own hotspot (example a 5G hotspot).
  • Avoid using personal-secure data like banking or credit card information.
  • Use good password hygiene. Also use second factor authentication and consider using password managers to manage stronger, unique passwords.
  • Check for website secure connections (HTTPS).
  • Consider using VPN – Virtual Private Network software. Your devices and locations will be less apt to be deciphered.
  • In Windows, turn-off sharing properties.
  • Keep your operating system and apps updated.
Asheville Coffee Shop Wi-Fi Users

More Posts



The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki frequently visits coffee shops and uses public Wi-Fi for the benefit of faster and more dependable connections that sometimes are better than mobile / cellular connections.

Questions or comments about broadband in Western North Carolina?

Griffith E. – 13 Tips for Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Security. PCMAG. Published June 22, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021.

Kaspersky – Public WiFi Security. Published January 13, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021.

Contribution Factor COVID 19 FCC Maps RDOF Reverse Auction

Infrastructure Bill, Broadband, and the 7 FCC Steps

What are the 7 Steps the FCC should take on broadband?

  1. Enable stakeholders to debate (and the FCC to analyze) what COVID-19 taught us.
  2. Survey whether there is a critical mass of states interested in using the reverse auction mechanism.
  3. Anchor institutions to the mapping process.
  4. Postpone the second Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction
  5. Lower the contribution factor to reflect congressional appropriations
  6. Accelerate the RDOF review process and detail staff with expertise in that process to the NTIA
  7. Commence a process for stakeholders to debate, and the FCC to resolve, how best to reform the universal service mandate

More at:

Broadband really is a major topic with major funding coming.  The WNC Broadband Project is here to advocate for future-proof broadband for all Western North Carolinians. 

Contact any member of the WNC Broadband Project with any questions.

Levin B. Seven steps the FCC should take on broadband in response to the infrastructure bill. Brookings. Published August 16, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021.

Economic Development North Carolina Rural

Rural Broadband Week

NC’s Highlight of Digital Inclusion & Innovation

What is notable about this week?

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a proclamation of Rural Broadband Week for August 16th through August 20th.

Why a Rural Broadband Week?

The need is urgent for rural broadband access and adoption across North Carolina. It is critical to allow residents to participate in today’s digital economy.

High-speed internet is essential infrastructure for everyone, from students and teachers to small business owners, workers, doctors and farmers and we need to improve access for rural communities across our state.

In the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to empower every household in North Carolina to use fast internet service to link to new skills, global markets, education and healthcare.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper

Closing this digital gap requires transformational investments in infrastructure, affordability and digital skills by the state of North Carolina and strong collaboration with private and nonprofit partners.

We’re making great strides expanding rural broadband infrastructure. We now are aiming beyond infrastructure to achieve digital equity. That requires us to keep innovating new ways to increase affordability and promote digital literacy skills.

Jim Weaver, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology

It is wonderful that the Governor is highlighting this fundamental need in rebuilding our Western North Carolina communities and economy.

Dr. William Sederburg,
Retired College President & WNC Broadband Project

WNC Broadband Advocacy

Eighty-eight percent of counties in western North Carolina are designated as “rural” according to the 2010 US Census.

The Western North Carolina Broadband Project is advocating for dependable high-speed internet for all residents.

Please contact a member of the leadership team with your WNC internet questions / comments.

Governor Cooper Declares Rural Broadband Week to Highlight Digital Inclusion, Innovation | NC Gov. Cooper. Published 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021.

WNC Healthy Impact | Hospital & Public Health Agency Partnership Network | About. WNC Health Network. Published July 11, 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Broadband access Digital Inequality Low-income Access

Digital Deserts

Broadband Drought Locations

Drought in the Western NC Mountains

For those of us who drive west, you quickly realize the quality and availability of cellular access points becomes more and more remote. The residents and businesses in these areas are also likely to have poorer fixed internet options.

With more and more interactions being required online from governments and related businesses, broadband or high-speed internet can starve individuals and communities of life-necessities of internet connectivity.

Community Broadband Access Points

To connect and communicate through the internet requires internet service providers. Wireless service providers facilitate some coverage, however this is usually at a premium of having a smartphone and sometimes expensive monthly cellular plans, most with contracts. Additionally our mountainous region has geographic limitations for WISP or wireless internet service providers.

Municipalities do provide public access points in their buildings and schools, medical facilities provide public access at most locations, many restaurants provide public access points, and my favorite are communities centers including public libraries.

Escape the Digital Desert for Seniors

School age students have the benefit of digital stewardship at public schools. But what about the senior demographic in Western North Carolina? What do they do if they don’t have a partner, spouse, children, or a community member to steward their digital needs?

Barrier to entry is really high for seniors in order to start using or feel comfortable using devices or the internet.

Deirdre Lee, Program Coordinator of Senior Planet Colorado

It appears significant Federal and State infrastructure monies are coming, including funding to grow digital connectivity and water the digital deserts. How will computer equipment and digital literacy be planned as part of the changing our digital deserts?

Digital Navigator Marc

Digital Navigator – Marc Czarnecki, alias Web Tech Czar

The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki, alias Web Tech Czar; is a member of the WNC Broadband Project Leadership team with a role of a Digital Navigator for the Digital Literacy Network and facilitates computer-tech education at NCWorks Career Center of Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Meet-the-GeeksAsheville SCORE, UNC Asheville Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Experienced Workforce Initiative of WNC.

Marc leverages 4G and 5G hotspot technologies from Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and area community WiFi access points.

Contact Marc with your ideas to change our WNC digital deserts:

NaBeela Washington. Escaping the Digital Desert – Senior Planet digital desert. Senior Planet. Published August 5, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021.

Broadband in WNC Hotspot WiFi

3 Simple Tips For Using a Mobile 4G HOTSPOT

A mobile hotspot is an ad hoc wireless access point that is created by a dedicated hardware device or a smartphone feature that shares the phone’s cellular data.

Other nearby devices can then use the shared hotspot to connect to the internet by tethering the devices. Tethering is the sharing of a mobile device’s Internet connection with other connected computers.

Connection of a mobile device with other devices can be done over wireless LAN, over Bluetooth or by physical connection using a cable, for example through USB.

4G Hotspot from Verizon
Smaller Than a Dollar Bill

Tip #1 – Think Portability

At a size around a dollar bill, a dedicated mobile hotspot with a rechargeable battery should be sufficient for needed connections while traveling. For longer trips and usage period, consider carrying a charging brick, plugging into a cigarette adaptor or using the USB charge and an available outlet to keep it charged. If the unit is plugged-in at a home or apartment, consider testing different locations in the building to determine optimal speeds.

Mobile hotspots are also likely to provide improved security by connecting through a trusted cellular network instead of a local hotspot with unknown integrity.

Internet connections aren’t always 100%. Having a mobile hotspot provides a contingency for when or if a Wi-Fi connection drops due to unexpected events. Connect and test a mobile hotspot to be ready for those important on-line uses.

Also, consider visiting the cellular provider’s coverage maps.

Tip #2 – Enjoy a Lower Cost

Expect a lower cost to using a 4G hotspot as 5G versions are arriving and are being incentivised.

The fifth generation of cellular technology is available and more and more cell towers are lighting-up for potential connections.

Loaner hotspots are also available to borrow at Buncombe County Libraries and at the NCWorks-Asheville location.

Call in advance to ensure availability.

Tip #3 – A Wired Hotspot is Better

With the availability of the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit or other internet service provider deals, having a wired hotspot will provide more dependable and faster download, upload, and lower latency speeds. Consider how you use the internet to determine which internet options are best for your needs.

Digital Navigator Marc

The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki, alias Web Tech Czar; is a member of the WNC Broadband Project Leadership team with a role of a Digital Navigator instructor for the Digital Literacy Network and facilitates computer-tech education at NCWorks Career Center of Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Meet-the-Geeks, Asheville SCORE, and the Experienced Workforce Initiative of WNC.

Marc leverages 4G and 5G hotspot technologies from Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and area community WiFi access points.

Contact Marc by:

Mobile hotspot. Published 2017. Accessed August 12, 2021.

Tethering. Wikipedia. Published July 6, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2021.


4G LTE WNC Data Coverage Maps

AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon

Are you considering cellular broadband for your home or business needs in Western North Carolina?

Please consider using these new FCC maps as part of your decision-making process for cellular broadband coverage in your community.

AT&T Mobility LTE 4G FCC Data Map

August 9, 2021 AT&T LTE 4G Data FCC Map - Metro Asheville
August 9, 2021 AT&T LTE 4G Data FCC Map – Buncombe County, NC

T-Mobile LTE 4G FCC Data Map

August 9, 2021 T-Mobile LTE 4G Data FCC Map - Metro Asheville
August 9, 2021 T-Mobile LTE 4G Data FCC Map – Buncombe County, NC

US Cellular LTE 4G FCC Data Map

August 9, 2021 US-Cellular LTE 4G Data FCC Map - Metro Asheville
August 9, 2021 US-Cellular LTE 4G Data FCC Map – Buncombe County, NC

Verizon LTE Data 4G FCC Data Map

August 9, 2021 Verizon LTE 4G Data FCC Map - Metro Asheville
August 9, 2021 Verizon LTE 4G Data FCC Map – Buncombe County, NC

FCC Launches New Mobile Broadband Map. Federal Communications Commission. Published August 6, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2021.

Broadband in WNC Fiber Fiber Broadband Association

Fiber Innovation

Feedback from the Fiber Broadband Association

The Western North Carolina broadband associations desires fiber to the home or FTTH or fiber to the premise FTTP. Why?

The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) recognizes their milestone of 20 years with fiber innovation with a series of three videos.

How does and how will fiber innovation affect broadband in Western North Carolina?

There are many WNC questions that we will work towards. What are the questions?

Fiber Innovation – Part 1 of 3

  • What will the future of WNC broadband networks look like?
  • How will fiber to the home and business change our WNC economies?
  • Who will be the WNC operators and builders?
  • What will our investments return?
  • Who will be the WNC fiber entrepreneurs?
  • Who will educate, promote, and accelerate fiber to the WNC home?
FBA Anniversary Video: 20 Years of Fiber Innovation (Part 1)

Fiber Innovation – Part 2 of 3

  • Who will be the fiber advocates in WNC?
  • Who will be the WNC experts at building fiber networks?
  • What are the WNC industry voices for fiber?
  • What will be our WNC demand for bandwidth?
  • What will be the place for the small telcos utility coops?
  • What will be the social and economic benefits be for WNC?
  • Who will be the new service providers?
FBA Anniversary Video: 20 Years of Fiber Innovation (Part 2)

Fiber Innovation – Part 3 of 3

  • What will the next 20 years of fiber expansion mean for WNC?
  • How will homes and businesses be connected via fiber?
  • Will broadband speeds change from megabytes per second to gigabytes per second and eventually become terabytes per second?
  • What will become the immersive technologies to improve our quality of life?
  • How will we use fiber in the future?
  • What are the solutions to ‘broadband permitting‘ through Federal, State, and local governments?
  • Will fiber become the telecommunications infrastructure?
  • How will future-proof fiber be funded?
  • How much will the digital divide change?
  • What will be the state of digital equity?
FBA Anniversary Video: 20 Years of Fiber Innovation (Part 3)

Create History with the WNC Broadband Project

Become a part of history and support the WNC Broadband Project by liking, following, commenting, sharing, and engaging with broadband content, policy makers, planners and more.

More WNC Broadband Blog Articles on Fiber

Digital Divide Digital Inequality Digital Redlining

Digital Redlining

Digital redlining is a term where decision makes deny electronic equipment growth in processes or policies to people and housing in low-income areas.

Digital opportunities could include discriminatory marketing, financial, or residential opportunities.

Is investing in high-speed internet is yet another digital exclusion?

Roots of a Digital Divide

A bill introduced last Friday tackles broadband underinvestment in low-income areas with hopes to address exclusivity agreements between providers and residential buildings.

Could the United States Government and the Federal Communication Commission take action to prohibit digital redlining?

On August 4, 2021 Representative Yvette Clarke of New York started an inquiry on the topic of digital redlining.

Uhunoma Edamwen. Bill to Address Digital Redlining, Exclusivity Agreements Between Providers and Buildings. Published August 4, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021.

Nally CW. Redlining in a Digital Age | Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP. Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP. Published August 31, 2018. Accessed August 5, 2021.

Text – H.R.4875 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): To require the Federal Communications Commission to issue a notice of inquiry related to digital redlining, to prohibit digital redlining, and for other purposes. Published 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021.

Access Points Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Digital Inclusion WiFi

Mobilizing Digital Navigators

Closing the Digital Divide

Because the digital divide is much more significant with the more rural mountain communities of Western North Carolina, providing mobility of the following assets is needed:

  • Computers, Chromebooks
  • Tech Knowledge
  • Hotspots and/or Mobile Access Points

Having a regular event at consistent locations would be effective in implementing ideas to improve digital inclusion and minimize the digital divide.

We know schools have been successful in implementing school buses with Wi-Fi.

Why can’t mobility be provided throughout the year to strategic community locations like libraries, town centers, or churches?

Mobilizing Libraries in the Fight to Close the Digital Divide – Heartland Forward. Heartland Forward. Published July 23, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021.

Web Tech Czar, Marc Czarnecki is a Digital Navigator and contributing member to the Western North Carolina Broadband Project’s Leadership Team. I welcome resource ideas at or by calling 828-365-8299.

More WNC Broadband Project Articles on the Digital Divide